Faculty Recruitment (Low Cost) Wish List
Thanks to Dan, Angel, and the rest of the Concurring Opinions crew for inviting me to blog this week. I’ll try to vary posts between scholarship/ideas, faculty life, and pop culture (and all permutations thereof).
With the FAR form due later this week, all those of us who went through this process as entry-levels can commiserate with our students, fellows, etc, just beginning the process. Love or hate the entry-level recruiting process, one thing seems obvious to me: we can make it better. To that end I invite readers to add to this thread with their suggestions for improving this process, with one proviso: make it cheap! If you could change something in the process at low or zero cost, what would it be? I give a few of my own answers below, but hope others will contribute through the comments:
1. Re-work the course listings to be selected on the FAR form. As I recall there were 4-6 differently named courses in my primary field (law and medicine, health law), while for others their field was not an option at all. I recognize that nomenclature is fluid, but it seems to me it would not be that hard for someone at AALS to compare their categories to course offerings at 5 member schools and bring them more into accord.
2. One tower, please. Did you know the Faculty Recruitment process measures not just legal acumen and collegiality but athletic ability? You have if you have ever tried to get from the top floor of one tower of the Marriot Wardman tower to the top floor of the other in less than 5 minutes using the stairs. Candidates are stressed and late, interviews go over, chaos ensues. Is it really impossible to put every committee in one tower, if you are booking the conference several years in advance? I know committees are of different size, and also opt for rooms of different grandeur, but a tighter squeeze or less opulence would be easy prices to pay for less rushing.
3. Get a blowhorn. At attending the American Law and Economics Association meeting one year I was amazed to find that each session is so precisely divided by the number of allocated minutes to each speaker, that at the designated point a blowhorn is aired throughout the hallways, and people leave and enter rooms to hear different speakers in the same session. Assuming that the FRC takes up much of the Wardman, could something similar be done to keep interviews on their timetable? That way there would be no awkward knocks on the door, or sweating when a particular committee held you over cutting into your next appointment.
I’m thinking small (too small?) but I’d be curious what other constructive cheap fixes people have thought of over the years.